The National Gender Policy was launched in Accra yesterday, with a call on stakeholders to address issues of gender inequalities in the country.
The policy is to mainstream gender equality concerns into national development processes by improving the social, legal, civic, political, economic and socio-cultural conditions of Ghanaians, particularly women and children.
It was organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) on the theme: ‘Mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment’.
It was attended by women’s rights activists, traditional rulers and women group organisations among others.
The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, who launched the programme, said stakeholders in the sector would be expected to take strategic policy actions, including legislation, administrative reforms, resource mobilisation, capacity building, awareness creation, research, monitoring and evaluation as directed by the National Gender Policy to address bottlenecks and barriers and other critical issues existing alongside the successes.
She said gender inequality had been the bane of Africa’s development for years.
She said in an attempt to address the challenges posed by these inequalities, successive governments in Ghana had made conscious efforts to promote girl-child education, social development and protection.
“Initiatives such as the distribution of free school uniforms, free exercise books, skilled training for young women, free ante-natal services for pregnant women, access to financial credit and other social interventions such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme, the setting up of specialised domestic violence courts and family tribunals, have all been used in an attempt to bridge that baneful gap of inequality in Ghana,” she added.
Mrs Wood said the policy provided broad policy guidelines, strategies and institutional framework for achieving gender equality and women empowerment in Ghana.
“The policy provides an understanding of the issues and strategies for addressing gender inequality in ensuring that women and men, the marginalised and the vulnerable have a voice, to participate and benefit equally,” she stressed
The Chief Justice said economic and social discrimination resulted in fewer and poorer life choices for women, rendering them vulnerable to trafficking, noting that gender-based violence affected at least 30 per cent of women globally.
“In spite of this, women’s contribution to national developments cannot be discounted. In Ghana, women constitute more than half the agricultural labour force and produce 70 per cent of the country’s food stock. Women constitute 95 per cent of those involved in agro processing and 85 per cent of those in food distribution,” he added.
She said women farmers were often engaged in domestic and reproductive tasks, which were crucial to the maintenance of households and communities. The predominant role of women in agriculture had enabled most women farmers to become increasingly responsible for the educational and other material needs of their wards, especially for female headed households.
The sector minister, Nana Oye Lithur, in her remarks, said the policy framework would enable stakeholders to have common understanding of issues and strategies for addressing gender inequalities and issues of social injustice.
She said the policy would also provide broad guidelines, strategies and institutional framework to opertaionalise government’s commitments for achieving gender equity and women’s empowerment targets in its national vision.
“We consider this strategy essential because it will assist to ensure the achievement of gender equity. It is also critical for achieving sustainable development goals in all areas, such as those related to poverty, education, health, agric and environment,” Mrs Lithur said.
By Anita Nyarko-Yirenkyi